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Rock Your Trade Show: Inspiring interviews with Industry Insiders, Executive Leaders, Marketers and Influencers who share their insights, challenges and lessons learned so you can rock Your next trade show.

Do you need to achieve results your marketing program and win leadership buy-in by showing results in what you do at work?

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Reach out to me, I love hearing from you! Rock Your Trade Show


Jul 3, 2017

Have you ever created a marketing plan and struggled with demonstrating results?  When starting a marketing plan, companies often start with this question… “What is it we want to tell the customer about our products or services?” Instead of focusing on your company first, answer the question “What is it our customers really want and how do we solve for what they need?” The difference in approach can make a big impact on results.

Does this sound familiar to you?

  • Marketing success but has been inconsistent and it depends on the product division.
  • You aren’t sure how to align strategy and goals to results.
  • Leadership is not always aware of the direct impact marketing has on sales at trade shows.

These tips will help you create the ultimate marketing plan so you can have consistent results every event.

8 Steps to Creating a Results Driven Marketing Plan

  1. Start with a Pre-Marketing Plan.

       Before evaluating where you want to go, it is important to know where you            are.

  • Know The Company Culture: What role is marketing planning in Sales? Does marketing collaborate closely with sales?
  • Understand Leadership: How do they view face to face marketing? Do they see it as an extension of the sales process? Or do they not believe in it? If you have support for face to face
  • Meet with Key Stakeholders: Get buy-in from stakeholders when you present plan and execute the plan
  • Bring two groups together-sales and marketing (for added help you can take this free survey)
  • Include All Segments Of Your Organization: Be sure to include Procurement and Sales in the process
  1. Reverse Engineer Your Plan.

       Look at what your customers want first.

  • Confirm customer pain points: What are they struggling with and how do you solve it?
  • Ask for input from Sales: What were the most frequently asked questions from customers in the field?
  • Create Customer Profiles: Once you know the customer concerns, put them into categories and create a customer avatar profile based on decision levels. There might be 3-5 people for each product category and the key is to know what is important to each of them.
  • Decide What You are Solving For: Each customer avatar is different, be sure to include all types or you will miss out
  1. Set SMART Goals.

         Goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time                    bound. 

  • Start with what success looks like-be specific: are you looking for impressions, leads (to really track success it isn’t the quantity of leads it is the number of contacts made post show that will directly drive sales), revenue, etc. If you have a long sales cycle the goal might be number of touch points with the customer, and not just one follow up interaction.
  • How will you track and measure the goals that you have established. What tools do you need in place to monitor the data collected?  How will you work with sales to measure against the goals you set up
  • Are the goals that you established achievable? If your sales teams need training, be sure that is part of the tactics so that you can achieve the level of follow up for example that is expected. 
  • Go back to the original reverse engineering and confirm if these goals are relevant to your customer and do they tie back to the solutions for your customers.
  • Establish the time frame for how the goals are measured-how soon post-show do you need to show results?
  1. Establish Your Tactics to Achieve Results.
  • Work with Sales leadership to create a call to action for your sales team-here is what they need to do before, during and post event.
  • Establish The Environment: Each size exhibit environment should allow attendees to easily understand your solution and why it matters to them.
  • Engagement Tools for Your Sales Team: Help sales reps by giving them unique ways to Attract, Connect and Engage with the target audience.
  • Make sure the tactics in place link to the SMART goals you established.
  1. Align Strategy and Measurement to Key Stakeholders
  • Make sure product managers, sales, marketing and finance are all aligned.
  • Offer strategies to train the onsite sales team. Share observations from the show floor and recommend ways the sales reps more effective. 
  • The pre-plan of getting leadership input and support really has an impact at this stage. Sales Reps will rise to the occasion when they know that their performance matters to leadership.
  1. Create A Budget Plan
  • Follow internal budgeting procedures-tack if the budget tie back to an overall yearly budget or to a specific budget.
  • Adjust metrics to reflect the show. Not all face-to-face environments include sales; for some it is about image and impressions.
  • Evaluate performance based on the metrics. Demonstrate how the data ties back to the goals even if sales didn’t happen at the show or post show, it is important to have a “why” for attending the show related to the budget spend.
  • Post show perform a budget audit and review how close the end result stayed on track. Identify areas that may have increased or decreased the total amount.
  1. Host Strategic Planning Meetings
  • Bring together all of the stakeholders. Reiterate goals and calls to action to achieve the plan.
  • Include agencies so they are able to support marketing goals and objectives.
  • This meeting serves as a checkpoint to ensure alignment of all stakeholders and agencies.
  1. Share Success
  • Send out a post-show survey to all participants of every event.
  • Hold a post-show meeting with stakeholders and discuss the strategy, goals and results.
  • Schedule quarterly meetings with leadership to demonstrate your marketing plan’s success.
  • Include data from post show survey from the event: what worked, where there is room for improvement and share how goals and metrics are achieving the desired results.

Be sure to visit Rock Your Trade Show to get the free download of this plan!  If you have a question or would like help with your marketing plan please contact me, I love hearing from you! As always, if you liked what you heard, please share this with a friend or colleague.

Editing Credits:

Thank you to Christy Haussler and Team Podcast